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Hot Five: Disney x Fortnite, Sega’s sonic speed, and a potential Keywords Studios buyout

Our quick-fix roundup of the hottest stories on PocketGamer.biz
Hot Five: Disney x Fortnite, Sega’s sonic speed, and a potential Keywords Studios buyout

Start your week right with our quick take on the stories that are impacting the mobile industry right now.

To help get you primed and ready for another week in mobile gaming, we’ve curated the biggest stories you need to know from the last seven days.

1) Disney will let Fortnite creators use its IP to make games

Following a $1.5 billion investment into Epic earlier this year, The Walt Disney Company is allowing Fortnite creators to make use of its games and entertainment universe with "Disney-themed gaming experiences".

A multi-year project is underway to develop an interoperable entertainment universe in Unreal Engine, bringing characters and content from Disney, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and more to Fortnite. The goal is to provide users with a place to "play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories".

2) Keywords Studios green lights £2 billion EQT Group buyout offer

Ireland-based Keywords Studios is currently in advanced talks with equity investor EQT Group regarding a potential £2 billion cash acquisition at 2,550 pence per share. This offer actually marks EQT’s fifth attempt at purchasing Keywords after the four prior offers were rejected, but the latest is much higher.

Should the deal go ahead, shareholders registered by May 24th, 2024 will also receive a final 2023 dividend of 1.76 pence per share, payable on June 28th, 2024. As for whether it does or not, the deal has a close deadline of June 15th, 2024.

3) Sega reaches financial targets one full year ahead of schedule in record fiscal year

Sega has already reached its medium-term targets for next March, as the company’s change in strategy proves an undeniable success after its strongest fiscal year of the past decade. Sega generated $2.5 billion in its latest fiscal year, far exceeding the $2.1 billion and $1.8 billion earned in most recent years prior.

The earnings also exceed 2014’s $2.4 billion, unmatched in the years since until now. FY2023’s profits have mirrored Sega’s revenue success too, demonstrating the medium-term plan's achievements in action.

4) How Playtika triggered Sega’s Rovio acquisition and what happens next

Before Sega acquired Rovio, Playtika proposed private and public offers to the Angry Birds maker - a move that ultimately got the ball rolling towards a deal sans Playtika. After all, the proposed deal became the "trigger point" for a strategic review within Rovio to consider what was best for shareholders.

"That really started something, because [Playtika} announced it publicly," Rovio VP of strategy and investor relations Timo Rahkonen shared with us. "That basically meant that there started to be quite a lot of interest [in Rovio]."

5) Phoenix Labs cancels projects and lays off staff in new restructuring

Games industry cutbacks continue as developer Phoenix Labs is letting go of over 150 staff. Various ongoing projects have been cancelled too as the Canadian company undergoes a restructure.

These decisions come as a "last resort" essential to the studio’s survival, according to Phoenix Labs’ statement, with projects affected including one that was due for reveal in June. Naturally, it is staff on these impacted projects impacted by the decision to cut back and prioritise existing success Fae Farm and Dauntless.